Preview: A Fisherman’s Tale – Angling for a Unique Experience
When VRFocus first got to try InnerspaceVR’s unusual puzzle title A Fisherman’s Tale at the Indie Arena Booth during Gamescom 2018, the short demo was an instant favourite. It did exactly what a demo should, and instantly grabs you with its gameplay hook and reels you in (that pun had to go in). Several months later and the videogame is almost ready for launch, with publisher Vertigo Games (Arizona Sunshine, Skyworld) planning a multiplatform release in January 2019. This time VRFocus has managed to sit down with A Fisherman’s Tale for a better look, getting to play Chapter 2 for the first time.
If you’ve been keeping up with VRFocus’ coverage of A Fisherman’s Tale then you’ll know that you play the titular fisherman, who just so happens to be a man called Bob who’s made out of wood. Bob lives in what is essentially a lighthouse-shaped dolls house, going about his everyday duties like brushing his wooden teeth, and keeping warm by burning logs in his wood burner – seems a little dangerous if you’re also made of wood.
Intertwining a rich narrative which is narrated throughout with a puzzle experience, the main hook with A Fisherman’s Tale is how it plays with scale. Inside Bob’s little cabin next to the lighthouse is an exact scale model of the cabin and lighthouse. As the story and levels progress you take parts of this model away to access the inside. It’s through this process that most of the puzzles are solved, items are either too big or too small for their intended use, needing to be altered by placing in or taking from the model.
The first chapter helps to outline the basic principle, where you can reach into the model to remove an anchor that’s blocking the exit and is way too big and heavy to be relocated at its normal size. Each chapter has several puzzles to solve to progress, each done in turn, creating a very linear experience to begin with. Whether this changes over the entire six chapter’s remains to be seen.
Heading into the second location the actual physical area is slightly smaller than the first, yet opens up the many possibilities this magical scale model can accommodate. A Fisherman’s Tale soon has a micro version of Bob jumping into fish mouths and scurrying into walls as he aims to scale the lighthouse.
There is a concern that A Fisherman’s Tale may rely too much on this scale mechanic that it becomes a little too repetitive, although the other worry is that the first two chapters weren’t overly long, and there’s only another four to solve. Only the final launch version will answer those questions.
This preview version also introduced the selectable hints system for the first time. This is there to helpfully nudge you along after a few minutes, to ensure you don’t get too frustrated at any point. Testing it out during the second chapter, the talking fish (the title is slightly weird, you do play a wooden fisherman) doesn’t 100 percent give the answer, but the hint is fairly blunt and straight to the point.
Developers are certainly finding their feet when it comes to interesting puzzle titles and A Fisherman’s Tale is no exception. Arca’s Path, Tin Hearts, Transpose all have their own unique and addictive qualities which make them stand out, offering puzzle fans a wealth of choice. A Fisherman’s Tale has all the right hallmarks to make it stand toe-to-toe with these others, and VRFocus is still very keen on seeing how the final product turns out.